WEST SYSTEM: Putting some heart into traditional boat designs – by Lockhart Boatbuilders
With sailing events taking place all year round, the Isle of Wight makes a perfect home for those with a passion for boat building. After moving to the island, James Lockhart describes how he and his friend Lukasz Stawski were inspired to set up a boat building business – redefining classic boat designs with modern building techniques.
Firstly, tell us a little about yourself
I am a carpenter and joiner by trade, from the Isle of Skye in Scotland. I moved to the Isle of Wight four years ago where I became involved in boat building. This is when I met Lukasz, an engineer from Gdansk, Poland and an experienced sailor.
How did the idea for your business come about?
Lukasz and I worked well together and decided to combine our skills to build our first sailing boat shortly after we met. We spent three months building a 17 foot cabin boat from plywood that we named ’Gringo’.
Last August we came up with the idea to start our own business, Lockhart Boatbuilders. We specialise in building classic-styled, epoxy plywood boats available to the customer as finished boats, plans, kits or at different stages of the build.
We work closely with an excellent Polish designer, Andrzej Książyk, who designs ‘Salmo’ boats. These designs are very popular in the Baltic regions and have also proven to be very sea worthy. We know people who have sailed the Salmo 15 open dinghy across the Baltic Sea – in both directions – and also cruised up into the Arctic Circle with them!
This year our friend Alexander Hanusz is actually planning to sail across the Atlantic in a Salmo 21 – a 21 foot plywood sailing boat. This will make him the first Polish Sailor to cross the Atlantic on an open deck Dinghy, which is very exciting.
We decided on the Salmo 11AS as our demonstrator, we think it’s the perfect boat for anyone with an interest in plywood dinghies. It also has the advantage of being a compact boat, making it easy to take along to boat shows and other events – so the public can play with it!
Which WEST SYSTEM or PRO-SET epoxy products did you use? How did they help?
We used WEST SYSTEM epoxy, it’s very easy to use and gives great results. We recommend using it with the calibrated pumps, they make the process even easier and ensure minimal waste, correct ratios and a cleaner workshop.
WEST SYSTEM epoxy is a brand we trust and when you’re selling epoxy plywood boats, your customers want only the best.
What was the most rewarding part of the project?
Every aspect of the project was rewarding, but I speak for both of us when I say that there is no better feeling than sailing a boat you built yourself.
What’s your top tip for boat builders looking to start a similar project?
Firstly, it’s true what they say, 80% of boat building is sanding. And you would be surprised at the difference good quality sand paper makes to your workload.
Secondly, keep your workspace clean and tidy! You will enjoy the project more when you’re organised and will end up with a better finished product.
To see more of James and Lukasz’s projects or to get in touch about any of their products visit their Facebook page for their latest updates https://www.facebook.com/lockhartboatbuilders.
Inspired to build your own? Click here to find the products that Lockhart Boatbuilders trust for their customers: https://wessexresins.co.uk/west-system/west-system.